We all go through tough times, right?
Let’s face it: life has a way of throwing curveballs when you least expect them.
Sometimes, we learn and rise.
Sometimes, we fall.
And when someone has to keep it all together by themselves when this rough patch hits, they could end up in a darker hole.
It’s like carrying a secret burden that keeps weighing you down.
I wouldn’t want that for anyone, would you?
If you’re here, I guess not.
So, let’s look at some signs that could help you figure out when someone you know is silently struggling.
First up, you’ll notice that…
1) They withdraw
Withdrawal might not be noticeable the first or second time it happens.
Your friend could skip a girl’s night get-together using work as an excuse.
Or they could stop going to family barbecues, always saying they have other plans.
You might think nothing of it. And really think life is just a little busy right now.
But over time, you’ll notice it’s become a pattern…
That they pulled away from all the social stuff – family gatherings, hanging out with friends, and even those casual catch-ups they used to enjoy.
They’ll be in their own little bubble.
It could also start with them dodging phone calls or texts. Or canceling plans at the last minute.
If your usually bubbly friend starts ditching opportunities to be social, it could be a sign that they might be dealing with some tough stuff internally.
A simple “Hey, everything okay?” message won’t hurt. You know, just so they know you’re there if they need to chat.
If your friend hasn’t withdrawn yet and you still see them often, you’ll notice that…
2) Their mood changes
Does it seem like your friend’s emotional state shifted completely?
Do they get easily irritated over little things that didn’t bother them before?
Are their moods all over the place, from feeling fine one moment to being down in the dumps the next?
Or are they more impulsive? With a personality and overall mood they never had before?
You see, mood changes aren’t just about sadness.
It’s more about a persistent shift that sticks around.
Imagine your friend who used to be the life of the party suddenly becoming the “meh” person at gatherings or just opting out of them altogether…
Like they’ve lost their usual spark.
If you notice any of this happening, I suggest having a heart-to-heart.
Ask them how they feel, and let them know you’re there to listen.
3) Their appetite changes
This behavior can go one of two ways:
Your friend could either start overeating or totally lose their appetite.
Overeating isn’t just about indulging in an extra treat here and there. If your friends start eating more food than usual and it seems like a consistent pattern, especially when they’re stressed or upset, it could be a problem.
Food can become a way to numb emotions temporarily. And if you don’t get it under control, it could spiral into an unhealthy lifestyle.
On the flip side, losing interest in food is exactly what it sounds like.
If your friend finds meals they used to enjoy unappetizing or skips them altogether, they could be struggling with something deeper.
This could lead to weight loss and major health issues over time.
If you notice your friends going through either of these changes, having a caring conversation might be a good idea.
You could simply ask how they’re feeling and if anything is bothering them.
Sometimes, opening up about their emotions can help them find healthier ways to cope with them.
And if it’s not food, it could be beverages.
So, you should also be on high alert if…
4) They abuse substances
Some people turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with whatever’s going on.
If your friend who used to enjoy a cocktail or two switches to stronger drinks more frequently, it could mean they’re trying to avoid real life.
A consumption increase is the first noticeable sign, but someone could drink or use drugs secretly, too. If this is the case, you’ll notice that they:
- Neglect responsibilities
- Isolate themselves
- Experience liver damage, heart failure, or other health issues
- Have financial difficulties
People who struggle with substance abuse often deny or downplay their problems. You usually can’t confront them directly about it. They’ll get defensive or even lie.
If you suspect someone is dealing with alcohol or drug abuse, you should approach them with sensitivity and care. Encourage them to seek professional help and offer support in any way possible.
Just remember to take care of yourself too.
5) They seem hopeless
No, I don’t mean they’re a lost cause. When someone is silently struggling, they might express feelings of hopelessness.
They could start using phrases like “I can’t do this anymore” or “There’s no hope for me” more frequently.
Your friend could also express a deep sense of worthlessness, feeling like a burden to others.
If you notice they withdraw from future plans, it could also be a sign of silent struggles.
Most hopeless people stop planning for the future or abandon previous goals.
Depressions and suicidal thoughts could follow.
Frequent expression of hopelessness is a huge concern. It could lead to persistent sadness and sometimes even thoughts of self-harm.
If someone you know opens up about these thoughts, you should take them seriously and seek help from a mental health professional or a crisis hotline.
No one available right now?
Just be a listening ear, then. Sometimes, talking about everything that’s going on helps tremendously.
We all get a little stronger by being there for one another.
So, if your friend, partner, or someone in the family shows any of these signs, check in on them. Your interest and willingness to listen could be exactly what they need to get better.
Remember, we all have our battles. It isn’t your responsibility to keep someone else floating while you drown.
But, if we keep the conversations going and be there for one another, it could make all the difference.